As I sit outside today, enjoying the beautiful sunshine after a week of rain, I can’t help but notice the grass growing in our front yard. It’s a lush, beautiful green because the Texas summer drought has not set in yet. I’m tempted to go lay down in a certain shady spot and go rest my eyes, but then they are distracted by the patch of grass that won’t seem to grow. My husband and I debate over whether it’s a fungus or if it just doesn’t get enough shade…if any one is a grass pro and wants to come take a look, you’re more than welcome. On top of that, all of the recent rain has caused the grass to quickly grow + some weeds have popped up, so I add yard mowing/maintenance to our list of things to do and it’s no longer a relaxing, happy thing to look at but a burden instead.
We all know the saying, “the grass is greener on the other side”, but I heard a response recently to that that made me laugh. “It’s not greener, it’s just grass.” On this Mother’s Day, I think this is something for all of us ladies to remember…whether you’re a mom or not, stick with me.
There are a lot of mixed emotions out there on Mother's Day. Obviously, there is joy and celebration. But for some, the day is a tough one because they are waiting for their own child, they've lost someone dear to them, or they do not have a good relationship with their mom. For others, they are about to be a new mom and might have uncertainties about what the next chapter will hold. And for those who are already mamas, they might be struggling with anxiety + doubt over whether they are a good enough mom.
So I thought I’d share scenarios from each of our lives so we have a window into what others may be going through when we think that their grass is a little greener. I recommend you to read these even if you’re not in any of these categories or if you’re a dad/son/brother/loved one so you can know how to encourage the women in your life.
You just wish your mama would stop asking you “why aren’t you dating anyone?”. You graciously explain for the millionth time that you would if someone would ask. It seems like all your girlfriends are married off and popping out kids, and you just want a boyfriend. Everyone calls you Aunt (so-and-so), which brings you such joy and you don’t want to complain - but you still wish you could have a child of your own.
You can still remember where you were the moment you found out you were going to be a mom. You were so excited and came up with the cutest way to tell your husband that you were expecting. But then you also remember where you were when you lost that baby, and can still remember the pain both physically + emotionally. It’s tough for you to be with your friends that have babies around the same age your little one would be because you just picture what their little personality would be like.
Your friends look at your life and tell you how jealous they are that you and your husband can pick up and travel whenever you want! It does seem quite luxurious, but what you really long for is a weekend at home with your own little family, yet for some reason, you cannot get pregnant. You try every technique, diet, and supplement out there, but test after test comes back void. It’s emotionally, spiritually, and physically exhausting and you’re starting to wonder what’s wrong with you and why you can’t get pregnant.
You’ve decided to foster to adopt and are beyond ecstatic each time a child is placed with you wondering if this will be your forever son or daughter. It seems like this might really be the one, but suddenly a distant family member shows up and wants to take the child back. You are crushed because you feel that you would love that child more than this person they’ve never met, but they are taken from you and you have to start again from scratch.
“I shouldn’t be upset…I already have a child” you tell yourself when you find out you’ve miscarried again. You’re beyond thankful for the one you have, but want him/her to have siblings and you’re wondering now if that will ever happen.
You were so excited to find out you are going to be a mom - this is what you’ve been waiting for! But about a month in you start getting sick and you’re still sick with only 10 weeks left. Motivation is at an all-time low and you don’t have the energy to “nest”.
You weren’t supposed to get pregnant. What will everyone say when they find out? You don’t agree with abortion because you don’t want to take the life of an innocent baby, but right now you feel like your life is over.
“I’m supposed to feel excited…but I’m not.” My husband and I want to have kids, but not now - it’s too soon. I really like my job + freedom and I don’t know what that will look like once the child comes.
You’re so excited to be a mom! This is what you’ve been waiting for. But now doubt and anxiousness are sneaking in. “Am I really ready for this?” You’ve read all the books, have baby proofed the house, and have your birthing plan…but is it all enough?
“My little one is a gift” is what you have to remind yourself as your child is screaming in your face. Why won’t he stop crying? Is it something I’m doing/not doing? The questioning overwhelms you more than the very loud noise that’s coming out of such a small child. “It will get better”, you tell yourself, but as the days pass on you just get more discouraged.
You swipe through the photos of your friends’ recent trip to Disney with their kids and wish you could take your kids, but you are barely getting by with this month’s bills. You look like you have it all together and try to maintain the same lifestyle as the others to “keep up with the Jones”, but you feel like you can’t wear that mask much longer because it’s starting to crack.
You work full-time, but are a mama too. You battle with yourself wondering if you are spending too much time doing one or the other.
You gave up working to be at home with your kiddo - which you love and are so thankful for the opportunity. However, you sometimes feel as though you no longer have an identity past “mom” and long for adult conversation during your day.
You’ve got the picture perfect family - loving husband and multiple kids. Yet, you still feel alone. You make it through your day carpooling and going from practice to practice. You occasionally get a date night here and there, but you really don’t feel like you know the man you pose so well next to in pictures.
The common thread?
We all have expectations and “our plan”. Typically, we conjure this plan from the hypothetical standard our culture has created. No matter what stage you are in (and so many are not listed here) the common thread is that we all at times feel discontent and this spawns from insecurity and loneliness. Know that I say this with the upmost sensitivity to each of you no matter which stage you’re in. However, you may feel stuck in one rut, but then once you’re life stage changes and you’re out of one rut you might quickly find yourself in another one. It’s easy to look at others and think “the grass is greener on the other side”, but it’s just grass. We all have something we’re struggling with.
As women we struggle with a lot of hurt, but instead of internalizing it we should give it over to Jesus who can carry that and find community to share our ups-and-downs with. Some of you may be rolling your eyes if you don’t want to hear me talk about God right now - because in your mind you might be thinking He’s the reason you’re in this spot in the first place. I get that…but He did not want us to live in a broken world. This is why He sent Jesus to save us from the pain that we would face. We will still go through it, but with the power of a God that knows our pain. He is the “man of sorrows” as seen in Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.“
I recently listened to a podcast asking how I know if I’m a good mom. They quickly answered the question by saying that instead of striving to be a good mom, we should be striving to be more like Jesus. We will never be enough, but how freeing it is that we have someone who is enough!
He also created us to do life in community so we don’t have to face this hurt alone. We need women who can point us to the truth and love on us when we don’t believe it. I feel that Mother’s Day, no matter which stage of life you are in, should be a day to show love and support to each other.
Regardless of where you are in your journey, I hope you feel loved, blessed, and encouraged today!